ANAHEIM -- The A's exasperating collapse in Los Angeles ended with manager Bob Melvin watching the final seven innings Sunday in the clubhouse and A's players questioning the professionalism of the home plate umpire.
Thanks to a second-inning ejection, Melvin got to watch the bulk of the A's 8-1 loss to the Angels on television. What he saw was "the worst," in a setback that capped a four-game series sweep of defending American League West champion Oakland that left the A's a season-high five games out of first place. Before Josh Reddick's RBI single in the eighth inning, the A's had gone 29 consecutive innings without scoring.
Melvin waited until the troops came off the field, then sealed the clubhouse and lit into them for a level of play the manager called "embarrassing."
"What can you say? That was pathetic, embarrassing," Melvin said. "We don't play like that. The last three games here are the worst I've seen this team play in I can't remember how long.
"I feel bad for our fans to have to watch that."
Earlier in the series, Melvin had said he was happy with the effort put forward. What changed?
"I got to watch it on TV," he said. "It's different. It was just frustrating. We can't play like that. We are not going to be able to play like that.
"The reason I'm this upset is because that is not who we are. That's not who we've been for three years. And for the last I don't know how long, it's mounted, it's been frustrating. But the last three games for us are not us at all. It's embarrassing."
Losing pitcher Scott Kazmir was knocked out of the game at the same time Melvin was ejected with one out in the second. The moves came after the last of three consecutive walks, two coming with the bases loaded. Kazmir said Melvin told the club what it needed to hear, but he also was wondering if the strike zone calls from umpire Gerry Davis were payback.
Several A's players said Davis had been reprimanded Sunday after making what was called a "crybaby face" to the A's dugout after Saturday's game, players demonstrating by putting up their balled fists near their eyes as if they were in the act of weeping.
"That's just not professional," Kazmir said of the ball-strike calls. "I'm trying really hard to rise above the B.S. to be honest with you. It's late August. It's a tough time of the year for anyone in the game, it really is. But it's important to rise above any personal issue and call a fair game. We owe it to the game to do that.
"And what I saw on video, I saw 10-plus pitches I thought were right there. I don't know if it has something to do with last night when he got reprimanded, but professionalism is something I have an issue with. No matter what happens on the field, some things are just unacceptable."
Those three walks, coming after there were already two men on and a run in, forced two more runs across the plate and set up a backbreaking single by Mike Trout that brought home the fourth and fifth runs of a six-run inning.
Davis had nothing to do with the A's bats, which were enfeebled long enough to stretch the A's scoreless streak to 29 innings, the third-worst stretch in club history. The two clubs who did worse, in 1997 and 1978, lost 97 and 93 games, respectively. The current club is, or was, competing for having the best record in baseball.
A's third baseman Josh Donaldson, at this point the most consistent hitter the team has, said the Melvin outburst was entirely justified.
"Something had to be said," Donaldson said. "This is a wake-up call. This is the time of year to be playing our best, and we're playing our worst."
Catcher Derek Norris, who said Kazmir's pitches were "right where I set up my glove," said Melvin was on the mark.
"We've got to figure it out," he said. "Frustration, anger, disappointment, embarrassment all added up."
Seattle (Chris Young 12-6) at A's (Jason Hammel 9-10), 1:05 p.m. CSNCA